If you’ve been sitting for a long period of time and/or working hard it can feel like you both want to move your body and take some time for yourself to unwind. A mindful walking meditation allows you to both move your body with awareness and tune into more subtle sensations through meditation.
In this blog we’ll explore a mindful walking meditation, as found in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course.
What is Mindful Walking?
Mindful walking is about being aware in the present moment while walking.
Mindful walking is a mindfulness technique that is focused on being aware in the present moment while walking. You might bring your focus towards the sensations in your body associated with walking.
For example, can you feel the soles of your feet against the ground as you move your feet while walking? What about noticing other sensations in your body, like the sensations related to breathing?
You might also start to notice certain thoughts and feelings that arise while walking. Not trying to change your thoughts and feelings, but just noticing them and allowing them to be there.
Mindful Walking Instructions
Stand in stillness with your eyes closed to help turn your focus inwards towards the sensations in your body.
Gently open your eyes and start to slowly lift your right heel up. Notice how it feels to lift your right foot up, shift the weight into your left foot and step your right foot forward. To begin with you can make these movements very slow to notice the subtle details.
From here you can shift your weight into your right foot, slowly lift your left foot up, and place it down in front of your right foot.
Continue taking a few more slow steps while focusing in on the sensations in your body as you walk. And then take a moment to pause, close your eyes and re-focus your attention.
Once you feel ready you can then continue walking. You can choose to keep body sensations as the main focus of your mind during the mindful walking practice or allow your awareness to also expand outwards to specific thoughts and feelings that may arise while walking.
If you notice your mind has wondered away from your walking meditation practice you can always refocus back into the sensations in your feet.
You could practice anywhere from 5 – 30 minutes.
Mindful Walking Practice Tips
Start By Walking Slow
Often it can be helpful to start mindful walking at a much slower pace than you would usually walk. That way you can really slow down your thoughts and focus in on observing the sensations associated with walking.
As you start to get familiar with the practice you can always choose to later walk at a faster pace.
Take Short Pauses During Your Walk
Like with all types of meditation, when you practice mindful walking you will notice that your mind keeps wondering away from your focal point. When this happens you will need to observe that your mind has wondered away and bring your focus back.
By taking short pauses in stillness during your walk it will help you to notice where your mind is when you pause. And if necessary, bring your attention back towards your body and mindful walking practice.
Choosing Your Location for Mindful Walking
If you’re new to mindful walking meditation it can be helpful to start in a small, private place. By choosing to walk for 5 -10 steps in one directions, pausing and then turning around it will help you focus in on this mindfulness meditation technique without getting distracted.
Once you’re more comfortable with mindful walking you could choose to try mindful walking in nature or just walking down the street in your neighborhood.
I quite like to start for a few minutes my mindful walking practice inside to focus my attention and then move outside to walk around a park or out in nature.
Feel free to experiment and see what works best for you!
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